What a “Day at the Beach” taught me about Marketing
Are you confused about Marketing? Do you not know where to begin, don’t think you have the budget, or just don’t think you have the time? Here’s a simple tip, from maybe the most unlikely source, and I hope it helps.
First of all, the day at the beach. Now, as you probably agree, the reason we work so hard, put in the hours in our business, and make the sacrifices, is to create a better life. So, I try to practice what I preach when I have the opportunity, and amazingly enough, even when I am having fun, life teaches me a lesson about business. This lesson started with a movie, inspiring my wife to, for the first time in her life, want to learn to surf (not the google kind, the ocean kind); it just happened that a week later we had a trip planned to Florida, and being just an hour away from “The World’s Most Famous Beach” – Cocoa Beach, our lessons were booked. You only live once, and if my wife wants to learn to surf, we were going to learn to surf.
Many moons ago, I thought myself an athlete, and in my mind I would still like to believe I am active. I ski, kayak, cycle when I can, but not nearly as much as I had, but I have never surfed. My surf knowledge was basically from a couple movies I have seen over the years, and the two Surf Shops I had been to in my life, one being RonJon’s in Cocoa Beach. Now, if you have ever driven the I95 in Florida, you will know RonJon’s, as they have a billboard every 5 miles reminding you how close you are to there shop, but I remember the huge store I remembered as a youngster. That being said, RonJon’s was all I knew about surfing, so I trusted RonJon’s could teach us how to surf.
To summarize the surfing experience, suffice it to say I will never be a pro. I fell, and fell, and fell, and fell, and once in a while I got up on the board and had that feeling of “this is what it’s supposed to feel like…”. My wife was a natural, first wave up and on the board to the beach, and within half an hour she was doing tricks. However both of us agreed it was an amazing experience. From the moment we walked into RonJon’s Surf School (located a block north of the main shop if you needed lessons) we were made to feel like we were going out with friends. From the warm smiles, to the encouragement, to taking the time to share stories as well as ask us about ourselves, it was a completely positive experience. My results were obvious, but they made me feel like a champion anyway, and we both left thinking of the next time we would come back to RonJon’s to surf again.
Having built up an appetite, and with an hour drive ahead of us to get back to the room, we decided to grab some lunch, and our new friends mentioned the SandBar just around the corner. Walking into the place, you thought you walked into a movie set, with the walls decorated with surfboards, pictures and memorabilia, and a sign above-head proclaiming “Home of the Fish Taco”. We sat down on the patio, looked at the menu which offered anything from pizzas, to burgers, to burritos, but the front page proclaimed “Home of the Fish Taco”, and waited for the waitress. When she arrived, and we asked “What’s good here?”, she immediately replied “the Fish Tacos”. Having a seafood allergy myself, I opted for a burrito, but I can honestly say it’s the only time I ever felt like trying a fish taco.
So, what does falling off a surfboard and eating a burrito on a patio have to do with marketing? First of all, if you are reading this blog, there is a good chance you either do not have the funds available, or should not be spending the money, that RonJon’s is spending on the traditional advertising (billboards, coupons, ads etc). They have built that brand over decades of consistency. What they did to keep that brand was deliver a great experience (service). We all know examples of companies who have great ad campaigns only to deliver sub-par service or products. And maybe more importantly, they made me feel special, and made me feel like I belong; that was something that did not cost them anything extra, did not take any additional time, and did not require any special equipment, just a positive attitude and energy. And I am sure there are dozens of surf instructors in Cocoa Beach, some more experienced, some cheaper, but I personally will never know, because a lesser experience for $10 cheaper is not worth it to me; price is only an issue in the absence of value, and that is the lifeblood of customer loyalty. The SandBar is never going to win any Michelin Stars, and Gordon Ramsay may never rave about the food, but as far as I know, they make the best fish taco in Cocoa Beach. I will never be an expert on the topic, but if anyone ever asked me where to find a good fish taco, there is only one restaurant I would recommend; the SandBar are specialists, because they told me they were, and in my mind, they added credibility in their brand because I perceived them to be the best at one thing.
1) Spending money on traditional advertising is only worth it if you deliver excellent products, services, and experience (in this social media world, no amount of money with overcome a bad reputation).
2) Make people feel special – it does not cost anything, but can drive profits to your business.
3) Specialize – it gives credibility instantly the the mind of your prospect, attracts the types of customers you are looking for, gives you confidence, improves your self image and focuses your advertising budget.
4) Consistency – Whether it’s billboards on the side of the highways for decades, or the repeated message in your restaurant, the consistent message improves your brand, regardless of how much money (if any) that you are spending.
I hope this helps. If you found value in this post, please comment below and share. And if you have any questions, or if there is anything I can do to help, send me an email at hisemm@
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